Many of us are aware of the psychological benefits of meditation, but regular meditation practice can also have a positive effect on our physical health.
People who regularly practice meditation, yoga, or other forms of relaxation techniques have been saying for centuries what medical science is now proving to be actual fact.
Meditation has been around since the first civilizations to inhabit the planet and has been steadily making its way into western culture as an effective alternative medical treatment.
The idea that we have a hidden well of health and vitality locked within our own bodies is an exciting concept, and it’s something that can be explored for free in the comfort of our own homes.
Meditation Effects On The Immune System
A wide range of studies, including those conducted by meditation therapy pioneer Dr. John Kabat-Zin of the University of Massachusetts, have proven that regular meditation increases the body’s immune system making it better equipped to fight off disease.(1)
By monitoring brain activity, doctors found that those who regularly meditate show increases in antibodies and serotonin.
There was also an increase in growth hormones which help to strengthen the immune system by repairing tissue and cell damage.
These so called ‘happy hormones’ are the body’s first line of defense against illness and disease, and are more effective at healing our bodies than many prescription drugs.
For Stress Disorders
Stress related illness has become one of the most commonly heard complaints and doctors are now using meditation as a form of treatment to lower the blood pressure and relieve stress.
Many symptoms such as;
! poor digestion,
! increased heart rate,
! and diarrhea can all be attributed to stress.
Meditation works by lowering the heart rate and putting the body into a state of deep relaxation making it more resistant to stress hormones and adrenaline.
Previous studies have shown that stress can affect male sperm count and motility, and lead to decreased libido.(6)
It has also been discovered that women in high-stress situations produce hormones such as prolactin and cortisol which can affect ovulation.(7)
It is not uncommon for women who suffer from stress for a long period of time to experience a disruption in their monthly cycle, and some report an increase in migraines and abdominal pain.
√ Meditation relaxes the body and allows it to function as nature intended bringing harmony to our biological system.
Forms Of Meditation
There are hundreds of different forms of meditation, but many fall into three main categories.
Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the breath and being aware of the body, and any areas of tension or stress stored up inside.
This meditation is best practiced sitting or lying down comfortably, and clearing the mind to focus on the breath entering and leaving the body.
Some find it helpful to count the breaths as it helps the mind to stay clear of nagging thoughts.
The goal of this meditation is to simply be aware of being present in the moment.
Focused meditation involves the use of some visual or auditory stimuli, such as a candle or relaxing music, to focus the mind and clear all other thoughts.
The last category is the broadest and covers activity based meditation.
This includes any kind of gentle activity such as walking, creating artwork, playing instruments, and yoga.
This type is especially attractive to those who find it difficult to sit in one spot for an extended period of time.
The physical benefits are just one side of the positive effects that are available to us through meditation.
The psychological and spiritual benefits are truly endless, and those who practice meditation long term report feelings of;
√ enhanced wellbeing,
√ improved concentration,
√ and mental focus.
The eventual goal of meditation is a constant state of awareness or ‘mindfulness’ which allows the person to be fully engaged in the moment, and unaffected by negative thoughts, worries, and anxieties.
Followers of the Buddhist and Hindu religions have been aware of the benefits of meditation for years, and many have devoted their lives to teaching the practice.
Calming the mind and entering a state of constant awareness can take a lifetime to master, but those who achieve this will experience an incredible change in their health, wellbeing, mental focus and quality of life.
Researches and references